I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle as an associate producer to shoot a branded content spot for NFL Media. It was branded content editorial for Bose featuring Russell Wilson and Kurt Warner. Since we weren’t going to be able to shoot with Russ until late afternoon, Seth Shapiro (EP) and I decided to take a one-day trip from LA to the Emerald City. It was a hectic day, one filled with some unexpected challenges, but ultimately a career highlight.
As someone who’s grown into more of a assistant to the producer role since first starting with Diesel Films, the day was filled with pinch-me moments. It was an experience in which I learned from some of the best in the sports and production worlds. Monday mornings could be a lot worse 😉.
Check out my timeline below to see just what went into such a fulfilling day up in Seattle.
🕛 5:00 AM ALARM CLOCK GOES OFF 🕛
I had set ten alarms because I’m always paranoid I’ll sleep through my alarm. Surprisingly, I got up at the first one, mainly fueled by excitement.
🕛 6:30 AM ARRIVE AT AIRPORT 🕛
When Seth and I met at the gate, they had just announced our flight was delayed because of smoke in Seattle caused by forest fires in British Columbia. With so much ahead of us to accomplish in a strict window of time, this was nerve-racking. Luckily, we got out of LA not too far behind schedule.
🕛 8:30 AM SEA-TAC BOUND 🕛
Despite the flight delay, it felt like a short trip compared to what I’m used to when flying back to the East Coast. I always enjoy catching up on movies I haven’t seen in a while (usually, I watch Bridesmaids, but this time it was Devil Wears Prada 😂).
🕛 11:30 AM ARRIVAL IN SEATTLE 🕛
🕛 12:30 STARBUCKS RUN 🕛
Of course with Seattle being the home of Starbucks, Seth and I found one only a few minutes from the training facility, so it was good to both decompress and prepare for the shoot. I also tested out the Sony a7r III for BTS photos.
[EP Seth Shapiro doing last minute prep before shoot]
🕛 2:00 PM ARRIVE AT VMAC 🕛
We set up in the media room which definitely brought me back to my journalism days! The walls were filled with pictures of past and present beat reporters.
🕛 2:15 PM WALK THROUGH 🕛
After meeting with our talented crew from Motion State, we did a walk-through with Seahawks Director of Football Communications Lane Gammel. From my previous experience working with other PR directors or SIDs, I thought he would try to limit your time with Russ. Lane, however, was very fair and clear on what Russell would be willing to do. It was Russell’s “off-day” so we couldn’t capture him throwing or doing heavy drills.
For this shoot we chose to use two RED Digital Cinema Cameras, a Monstro on a Freefly Movi Pro, for high-end motion stabilization and a Weapon Helium on a longer lens to give us those cinematic details that are so important for the editorial.
🕛 2:30 PM UNEXPECTED CHALLENGE #2 🕛
Seth got a text early in the afternoon from Kurt saying his flight was delayed due to the smoke over Seattle as well. We were scheduled to shoot with Russ at 4:45, so it was nerve-racking realizing Kurt’s arrival time may shorten the time we have with him and Russ.
🕛 4:00 PM KURT’S ARRIVAL 🕛
Right when Kurt arrived, we got him mic’d up and ready to shoot. It was cool to see how he interacted with the crew and especially our EP, Seth. Seth has filmed a number of NFL Network pieces, including Back 2 Campus at Kurt’s alma mater the University of Northern Iowa. I was glad to capture them throwing together before we started shooting. Kurt is the consummate professional and loves talking football, so he was pretty fired up to deep dive with Russell. Kurt emailed us over the weekend asking for specific research on Russ, so he was totally prepared.
🕛 5:00 PM RUSSELL’S ARRIVAL 🕛
After we got Russ mic’d up, we set up our first shot: Kurt interviewing Russ on the practice field. We only had Russ for an hour so we had to move fast.
🕛 5:30 PM HIGHLIGHTING THE PRODUCT 🕛
With the next 30 minutes, we had to shoot dynamic broll of Russ wearing the Bose headphones. We outlined 3 scenes for Russ, but due to the time constraints we had to pick two locations, so we chose the practice field and the fishing dock overlooking Lake Washington.
🕛 5:45 PM DOCK SHOT 🕛
With the Seahawks facility being in such a pristine location, it was important to show Russ walking on the dock in Lake Washington, reflective on the past and focused for the upcoming season, wearing his Bose QC 35 headphones.
Seth took some amazing portraits of Russ with a beautiful backdrop of Lake Washington at dusk.
🕛 6:15 PM UNEXPECTED CHALLENGE #3 🕛
We were feeling pretty relieved after we wrapped, but there’s always something, right? When we set up the footage transfer, we realized it was going to take over an hour, far longer than it usually does. With that delay, we would likely miss our flight.
We decided to drive back to Motion State’s office in downtown Seattle to see if we would have any better luck with the media transfer there. We hit some traffic avoiding the highway, so the scenic route took a lot longer than expected.
🕛 7:15 PM ARRIVAL AT MOTION STATE 🕛
With our flight scheduled to board at 9PM, and not sure how long the media transfer would take, we all began to get a little nervous. Motion State had a full bar in their office, so it was hard to refuse their offer to share a drink together. I think by this point we all needed one 😂.
🕛 8:00 PM LEAVE FOR AIRPORT 🕛
Since the footage wasn’t able to transfer immediately, Motion State agreed to FedEx a drive overnight. Still, it was a little bit of a curve-ball that we had ended up at their office in the first place. With that said, hopefully we can partner on future projects because they were all awesome to work with!
🕛 8:30 PM UNEXPECTED CHALLENGE #4 🕛
Our flight back home was delayed just like our flight up to SeaTac but this time due to a late flight crew. The extra time gave us the chance to look over more of the photos we took during the day.